Research Background

     Chicken litter has been used as a fertilizer for years to increase crop production. However, it does have its downside. Litter contains a lot of soluble phosphorous. This contaminates ground water and other water sources due to runoff.

     Dr. Philip Moore has been researching ways to reduce this phosphorous level by combining it with other things to make it more stable. There are three natural compounds of phosphorous found in soils: calcium phosphate, iron phosphate, and aluminum phosphate. Calcium phosphate is found in most commercial fertilizers. It dissolves easily in water. Iron phosphate will dissolve in standing water. Aluminum phosphate is the only one that proved to be stable. It becomes a permanent part of the soil. Aluminum phosphate can be formed by simply adding 2 tons of alum to the bedding of a chicken house, prior to introduction of chicks.